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Health and safety

Dutch Safety Board report sparks debate

10 August 2022

A recent Dutch Safety Board report has sparked an online debate among seafarers over the authority of masters onboard.

The report on a casualty on the Dutch-flagged Eemslift Hendrika cargoship stated that shore management should override the master in some situations. This was after the Master of the Eemslift Hendrika didn't take the advice of the ships owners prior to the casualty.

A common theme from commentators on the Nautilus Facebook page was a lack of seagoing experience in the onshore team:

'My first 2 companies had the knowledge in the office (former captains and engineers) but from 1996 to now they are mostly "office" people,' one seafarer said.

Another seafarer agreed:'A master is regulated and trained to certain standards and thus the power of command is given on this. Many shipping company offices ashore now have no marine experienced people working in them, who's roles are not regulated, nor is there a training and qualification requirement to fill them.'

However, in the case of the report, it argued that if the master had taken the advice of those advising onshore, there likely wouldn’t have been a casualty.

Nautilus members will continue the debate at the next Professional and Technical forum on 3 October 2022. The forum is a platform for members to voice their questions, and constructive debate will be welcomed.

'The professional and technical forum is a great opportunity for members of Nautilus to voice their concerns as well as ask questions regarding professional and technical issues. Debate from and amongst members would be appreciated,' said Nautilus International head of professional and technical David Appleton.

For more information on the professional and technical forum click here.